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Where UNHCR conducts refugee status determination (RSD), its reactions to legal aid for asylum-seekers have been mixed. Statistical evidence collected from Egypt in 2002 indicates a correlation between receiving some form of legal aid service and an asylum-seeker's increased chances of gaining refugee protection from UNHCR. Unconventional forms of legal aid, including limited services by supervised non-lawyers (including volunteers from the refugee community) showed a positive impact on first instance cases, while traditional legal aid models showed an impact at the appeal stage. Legal aid should form an essential part of UNHCR's RSD procedures, and NGOs should work to expand both traditional and innovative forms of legal aid for asylum-seekers.

Publication Citation

19:1 J. Refugee Stud. 45 (2006).